Category Archives: NEWS

News, press and writings from the farm.

VIDEO – Nancy on Fox 44

Nancy promotes Winooski Market on Local Fox 44

Nancy promotes Winooski Market on Local Fox 44

Just days before the City of Winooski holds its first farmers market of the summer season, Nancy Nottermann with Snug Valley Farm joined Local 44 Morning Brew in their Colchester studio. In a great interview, she showed off some of the farm-raised meat products SVF offers at the market, Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Watch Nancy on TV! ]

SEVEN DAYS Visits the Frozen Butcher

Article Published in Seven Days, March 8, 2016

Written by Melissa Haskin

Once a month throughout the winter, Helm Nottermann, aka the “Frozen Butcher,” transports meat from his Snug Valley Farm in East Hardwick to a dive bar in Essex Junction. Customers drop by between 6 and 7 p.m. to pick up orders: bacon, pork loin, ground beef, and other pork and beef products.

Last Friday, I joined Nottermann, 76, on a delivery. It was still sunny when I pulled into his unpaved driveway off Pumpkin Lane a little after 4 p.m. He gave me a tour of his farm, starting in the room where he assembles orders, putting them in paper bags labeled in green Sharpie with recipients’ names.

After a stop at Nottermann’s massive walk-in freezer, we headed toward a pigpen. He pointed to a field and told me that, during warmer months, the swine spend their time roaming and romping in the grass. As we approached, the animals tried to squish behind a single hay bale at the back of the pen. If they were trying to hide, it didn’t really work; there were 25 or 30 pigs and a single, four-pig-wide bale of hay.

Once they were satisfied with their positions, they turned and stared at us. Nottermann tried to coax them out, reassuring them that the strange reporter was harmless. A single pig ventured forward, but we didn’t have time to make friends, as Nottermann and I had to leave for town. Probably good, because I like bacon.

We made our way to the second swine enclosure, passing his steer. He has 60 — two groups of 30 that were born in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Nottermann and his wife, Nancy, will get another batch this spring, as they do each year. They prefer to raise steer, while their son, Ben, 33, prefers to raise pigs. If you’ve eaten pork at Prohibition Pig, you’ve eaten an animal that Ben raised. He sells an entire hog to the Waterbury eatery each week.

The Nottermanns also supply Michael’s on the Hill in Waterbury Center and the Lazy Farmer, a popular food truck whose owner is opening a restaurant in Essex Junction later this month.

We returned to the main house, where Nottermann grabbed his paperwork and Nancy accompanied us to the door. Usually he’d take his truck, but it was in the shop, so we piled into Nancy’s Honda CR-V.

As we drove the winding roads toward Essex Junction, Nottermann told me about his life. He was born in Germany and spent several years in New York City as an editor at a small, now-defunct publishing company before becoming a farmer. Over and over, he told me he was a lucky man.

He first got into farming when an old friend wanted to retire. The friend’s children didn’t want to take over the Bradford farm, so Nottermann did. Not only did he get a deal when he purchased it, he was able to learn from the farmer. “It was a fabulous way to start out,” Nottermann said.

When the couple made the decision to buy a bigger farm, luck found them again. At first he and Nancy couldn’t find a property in their price range, and they briefly gave up. Then, a year later, another couple approached him. They, too, were retiring and had children uninterested in farming. It was also quite a deal, Nottermann recounted. So, in 1979, he moved his family to East Hardwick.

Nottermann told me he enjoys the 75-minute drive to Essex Junction because it gives him time to think. The night I went with him, he had only five orders. Why would Nottermann drive that far to deliver so little? Surely it’s not financially worthwhile. But to him it is.

“I don’t measure sales, I measure staying in touch and relationships,” Nottermann explained. Even if only five people show up on a given delivery day, 500 are on his email list. Maybe someone will see his email and think, I’m throwing a graduation party for my daughter; maybe I should call Helm, he said. He’s interested in the long term, and that means not necessarily making a profit every day.

He’s not the only one who makes deliveries. Ben and Nancy do as well, visiting Burlington and Shelburne every other week. Before email existed, Nottermann would send out snail mail once a month. A few holdouts still receive hand-addressed mail, he said, but most have switched to electronic communication.

We pulled up to our destination, Murray’s Tavern, at 5:50 p.m. During summer, the Five Corners Farmers Market fills a block next to the tavern. Nottermann has a stand at the market, and we parked on Lincoln Avenue almost exactly where he sets up. This is why, of all the places in the town, Nottermann chose a bar for his winter deliveries.

When we stepped inside, a customer was already waiting. Nottermann greeted her and then disappeared for a few minutes, returning with a grin and a pint of beer. He took a seat in one of the padded green chairs across from the woman.

About 20 people sat or stood around the bar. Some chatted, while others tried to get the attention of the single bartender, who seemed to know many of the customers by name. Signs covered the walls, including a Busch ad and street signs warning “Private road,” and “Danger.”

Some of Nottermann’s customers joined our table. Jean Palmer asked if he’d forgotten her bacon. As he darted outside to check in the car, another woman at the table offered, “We can front you some bacon.” A conversation about bacon ensued, and someone asked if I’ve tried Helm’s. “It’s the best bacon I’ve ever had,” she said. Another customer concurred: “The bacon is sooooo good.”

Nottermann returned, victorious, and raised a pack of bacon in each hand. Everyone at the table clapped.

Nottermann resumed his seat at the table as talk about his offerings continued. One lady convinced another that she had to try the pork loin because it makes the best roasts, especially for parties. The men picked at a bowl of peanuts on the table. Then one of the women started talking about food writer Michael Pollan’s documentary series and said she was happy to know where her meat came from. “Helm, do you have Netflix?” she asked. He shook his head. Everyone wondered out loud if the series was available on DVD. Probably not, they concluded.

Two more people stopped in to pick up orders. They signed some paperwork, spoke briefly with Nottermann, then followed him outside to get their meat. By 6:37 p.m., all five orders had been filled. Nottermann lingered a little longer, eating peanuts and answering questions, then bid everyone farewell.

The ride home was a little quieter. It was too dark for me to take notes. Ice was still frozen on the windshield, but inside the car was warm. Nottermann checked to make sure I was comfortable. We talked a little about his younger days and how he misses dance halls. One night, he said, he and his friends had a grand party, from which their wives had to drive them home.

I asked if he’d thought of retiring. “I think I’d be bored to death,” he answered. My mind wandered, and I looked up at the stars. “Yeah, I’m a lucky man,” he mumbled.

We pulled up to his house four hours after we had left it. Nancy and two dogs greeted us. She’d been doing some accounting for the business on QuickBooks and had a pot of soup warming on the stove. She set two places at the dining-room table and sat with us while we ate, asking about our trip.

Before I left, she showed me the farm photo album. Inside were beautiful pictures of pigs playing in dandelion-speckled fields, Helm feeding a baby steer, Ben’s pumpkins. And then I was off for the hour-and-a-half journey home. I thought about my experience with Nottermann and came to a conclusion: He is not a lucky man; he is a happy man. If I could be half as content, I think I will succeed at life.
The original print version of this article was headlined “Meat-Up”

Link to Seven Days Article

YANKEE MAG Visits Bens Pumpkins

Excerpted from: Yankee Magazine
Author Julia Shipley
Photo Art by Julia Shipley

Ben’s Pumpkins | Friendly Pumpkin Wars

“Ben Nottermann has been growing his business since the ripe old age of six. Yes, the year most kids learn to tell time and dig into reading, Ben was learning that if he planted a couple seeds (about 50 cents worth), tended his few seedlings into thriving plants, harvested their produce, and sold his 24 orange spherical vegetables for a dollar a piece on the front lawn, he made what we grown-ups call: a great rate of return.

“A quarter century later: “Ben’s Pumpkins” is still flourishing. I know because I just came back from a mission to snoop on my biggest competitor. Ben’s Macro-Pumpkinry is based in East Hardwick,VT  on a lovely dirt road called, (so appropriately) Pumpkin Lane, and thanks to my recent reconnaissance, I think I’ve uncovered his strategy: Quality (they’re so orange and robust!) and Variety (they range in size from ping-pong to hassock) and Diversity (they vary from pleated to smooth to “Baby Boo” and other specialties). Ben, I have to hand it to him, is the one- stop shopping of all things pumpkin.   Again!”

MORE: Read the entire article and view the wonderful photo art by Julia Shipley

Delicious Beef and Pork for the Winter and Holidays

A Note from the Snug Valley Farmers:

As much as we hate to admit that winter is coming,  we do have to make plans to continue supplying you, our terrific supporters, with our meats!

So, sign up for Monthly Winter Deliveries to Shelburne, South Burlington, Essex Junction, Waitsfield and Stowe.

We’ll email you every month with the date and our offerings. You make your selection and we deliver it to the pick up point.  Shelburne, South Burlington and Essex Junction are on a weekday afternoon with a one and one half hour window, usually 4:30 to 6 p.m.  Waitsfield and Stowe are usually a Saturday in the early afternoon.

When you get our email, you can order or not order, very simple!
And once again, we are partnering on the Monthly Winter Deliveries with Freshies Farm (Jamie and Matt) for your chicken and turkey needs.

So, just let us know your contact information today!

Roasts & Special Cuts:
Please note that if you want a roast or a special cut for the fall or winter holidays, now is the time to tell us as our last BEEF slaughter date for 2014 is mid-November with the next ones in February or March. Pork dates are more flexible and frequent.

We look forward to continuing to serve you delicious beef and pork and a huge thank you for a wonderful farmers’ market season!

Helm, Nancy, Ben and Kelly

NEW GRASSFED BEEF COOKBOOK: Free Range Farm Girl by Shannon Hayes

Here at Snug Valley Farm, we love using Shannon’s cook books. You’ll even find some of Shannon’s recipes in the Snug Valley Farm  Online Cookbook.

We’re pleased to announce her new book, Free Range Farm Girl: Cooking Grassfed Beef.

Free Range Farm Girl Cook Book, Grassfed Beef“Healthy Recipes from Nose to Tail”

From America’s leading authority on cooking sustainably raised meats comes this concise nose-to-tail guide for home cooks to prepare grassfed beef. Shannon Hayes has selected the best recipes from each of her three prior grassfed cookbooks, combined them with her signature easy instructions and explanations, and served up a simple, easy-to-use cookbook for the newcomer to the world of grassfed beef. This book offers a wide array of time-tested family-friendly recipes, with chapters dedicated to pan-frying and oven roasting; braises, stews and soups; ground beef; grilling and barbecuing, as well as a complete section on using the bones and fat.

Cooking Grassfed Beef offers clear information on making cut selections, candid explanations about navigating the world of farm-direct purchasing, and up-to-date information about ecologically friendly and humane livestock farming. As with all Hayes’s cookbooks, the culinary concepts are easily learned, and the extensive section covering spice rubs, marinades and sauces will liberate home chefs who long to improvise and invent their own grassfed beef dishes. This little volume is the perfect introduction to Shannon Hayes’s vast writings on the subject of sustainable meat.

Visit Shannon’s Blog
Order the Book
Order the E-Book for $4.99